Jonathan Schoop walked into the clubhouse at Comerica Park Monday morning amid a season-long recession.
He left Monday night and felt like one of the hottest hits in baseball after the best nine hours of his season.
After a perfect 4-to-4 match 1 of the double-headed, Schoop continued, where he escaped in game 2, going 2-to-4 with a run and an RBI, raising his average from .191 to .207.
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It gave rise to the offense early before Riley Greene ran in the go-on race in the sixth inning and Eric Haase hit a solo shot in the seventh, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 5-3 win and a sweep of the twinbill.
“He’s had some really good bats,” Hinch said of Schoop. “Then I mention his defense because he made some games that also helped us win on that side.
“It’s nice to have guys contribute when you get it from the top of the order and the bottom of the order, we’s another offense when those guys go, Jonathan included.”
Schoop got the score started early and led the third with a double for his fifth stroke in as many strokes on the day. After advancing to third place on a Victor Reyes ground ball to the right, Greene came to the plate.
The rookie hit a chopper to second baseman Andres Gimenez, Schoop broke home immediately and used a textbook hook around the outside of the record to beat the mark of Sandy Leon.
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Faedos fine start
With the way Alex Faedo pitched early, the early lead felt pretty good for the Tigers (32-47).
After three tough outings in a row for Faedo, the rookie who started his 11th career start crossed through three innings and only needed 40 pitches while spreading a hit and a walk.
Then the fourth round happened.
Faedo allowed an Amed Rosario leadoff walk, followed by a Jose Ramirez single, Franmil Reyes double, Andres Gimenez sac fly and Owen Miller single.
Suddenly, a one-run lead turned into a two-run deficit. After provoking a pop-up to get to two outs, the 26-year-old issued consecutive walks to Leon and Oscar Mercado, leading to a high-profile visit from manager AJ Hinch and assistant athlete coach Matt Rankin.
Faedo threw a couple of test lanes before being pulled with soreness in his right hip, according to the team.
“I saw him start compensating for his delivery,” Hinch said. One could feel (his hip) started to change his delivery a bit, but when I got out there I was glad it was not arm related.
“He would throw a few pitches … he would not tell me he was going out, but you could see it in his face and see it in his delivery, so I took him out.”
Tyler Alexander came in with the bases filled and made Steven Kwan line up and avoid further injury.
Scratches a few across
The Tigers got a gift at the bottom of the fourth. Haase started the inning with a small league pop-up in front of the mound when both starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington and catcher Leon met each other.
The two almost collided before the ball bounced off Pilkington’s glove and rolled away, allowing Haase to reach second base.
“It’s never easy when a catcher has to go out into the field, it stinks,” Haase said. “When the pitcher didn’t take charge, I was like ‘okay, let me get on my horse’, and the next thing you know, jingles and rolls all the way to the backstop.
“I’ve been in the position I know how hard it is, so I just wanted to run it out.”
After Spencer Torkelson struck out on a 104.6 mph shot, Harold Castro hit an infield single that was knocked down after he was originally called out.
That brought Schoop, with runners on the corners, single – his sixth stroke in a row – up to score Haase and halve the lead. Reyes followed with a field player’s choice to drive in Castro and level the game, 3-3.
Torkelson led the sixth inning out with a single, followed by a Castro strikeout and Schoop line out – which he hit 105.6 mph.
Reyes ripped a 3-2 fastball into the right field to advance Torkelson to third base before Greene stepped onto the plate and hit another chopper. This time, it seeped right over the mound, leaving no chance for a game and a go-to-field single.
Greene has reached base in 14 of his 15 career MLB matches.
Haase would deliver the fireworks in the next picture.
After two quick outs to start the seventh, Haase got a hanging basket ball on the first lane and burst it to the left field, going 389 feet at 106.6 mph over the bullpen to put the Tigers ahead with the final result.
“It’s not that I did not like (cracking balls before), it’s just you never know what you’ll get,” Haase said. “If you start looking for them in those counts, you get some back up (vomit balls) that I was able to reach tonight, they’re still good lanes to hit, it doesn’t have to be a heater.
“The more I’m able to gather these A-Bs looking for those seats, it just gets better and better to be zoned on those lanes.”
The bullpen, which has been the bright spot for the Tigers this season, shone again.
When he entered the fourth, Alexander came out of a base filled with jam. It set the tone for his day and threw 3⅓ pointless innings, while allowing only two singles and no walks.
“If we had the player of the game, we would give him that because of the efficiency, plus outs plus zeros,” Hinch said. “Probably the biggest out he got was the first out he got with the bases filled against Kwan.
“That game is completely different if they place a four or five spot there.”
After the fight, Alexander said he got away with a “shit” shooter that Kwan hit hard, but was lucky it happened to go straight to Greene.
Other than that, he was in control and able to evoke weak contact by missing barrels against a lineup that puts more balls into play than any other team in the majors.
“It has been my role to build a bridge between the starter and the rear end of the bullpen,” Alexander said. “I did it today with an extra inning. I hadn’t just expected to get the third up, but I was effective.”
Since returning from the injury list in mid-June, Alexander has allowed only one deserved run in 13⅓ innings on eight hits, six walks and seven strikeouts.
Alex Lange followed suit in the eighth inning as he beat the heart of the Guardian’s order.
He needed four pitches to knock Rosario out on a curveball, seven pitches before getting Ramirez to swing through a 95 mph sink and three pitches before putting Reyes down on the curveball to knock the side out in order.
After using Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto in Game 1, Hinch approached Joe Jimenez to close out Game 2, which he did, putting the Guardians in order with a strikeout mixed in his first save of the season.
“Joe Jimenez, it started by itself during the lockout, where he renewed a few things and stuck to what he needed to do to get better than he has been the previous couple of seasons,” Hinch said. “He does not want to talk about it, he does not intend to lend a hand to what he does, but he has an inner focus this season that is better than last year.
“When we put him in any situation, he has responded very well, so I am very proud of him.”
Contact Tony Garcia at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at @realtonygarcia.